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Mitophagy: The process that keeps our cells healthy

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What exactly is mitophagy?

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How mitophagy works

Several biological processes stimulate our cells to recycle the less functional mitochondria. This includes exercise and calorie restriction. To start the process of mitophagy, mitochondria change the properties of specific proteins on their surface. These proteins, also known as receptors, function as a “flag”, allowing the cells to recognize and remove the “bad” mitochondria.

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At the end of the process, the unhealthy mitochondria are not harmful anymore – even better, their building blocks can be recycled for other purposes. The PINK1/Parkin axis is just one example of mitophagy regulation. Cells have developed many more such mechanisms, depending on the type of mitophagy inducer and tissue.

A muscle cell (C2C12 myoblast) stained with the mitochondrial marker mKEIMA. In cyan is represented the normal mitochondrial network. The red dots show mitochondria undergoing mitophagy. (Credit: Davide D’Amico/EPFL)

A muscle cell (C2C12 myoblast) stained with the mitochondrial marker mKEIMA. In cyan is represented the normal mitochondrial network. The red dots show mitochondria undergoing mitophagy. (Credit: Davide D’Amico/EPFL)

Mitophagy goes hand in hand with biogenesis

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Mitophagy and biogenesis are key processes that are coordinated to maintain our cells healthy. (Image credit: Amazentis)

Mitophagy and biogenesis are key processes that are coordinated to maintain our cells healthy. (Image credit: Amazentis)

Mitophagy in aging and diseases

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Recent studies have shown that Urolithin A is able to enhance cellular and mitochondrial health. Urolithin A is the first natural bioactive shown to improve mitochondrial function by activating mitophagy that has been rigorously tested in humans. Other compounds contribute to mitochondrial function, but Urolithin A is unique in promoting mitochondrial health via a combination of mitophagy and mitochondrial biogenesis.

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Our deeper understanding of mitochondrial biology points to mitophagy as a key mechanism for proper cellular function. Learning how to stimulate mitophagy in circumstances when it would otherwise decline may well be the way forward, as a way to keep our cells healthy – a pre-requisite for a healthier life.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. References: *Nutrition studies: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to (1) induce gene expression related to mitochondria function and metabolism and (2) increase the strength of the hamstring leg muscle in measures of knee extension and flexion in overweight 40-65 year olds. Data from two randomized double-blind placebo-controlled human clinical trials. **Nutrition NOURISH Study: 500mg Mitopure® have been shown to deliver at least 6 times higher Urolithin A plasma levels over 24 hours (area under the curve) than 8 ounces (240ml) of pomegranate juice in a randomized human clinical trial.